Homewood group raises awareness of art, architecture

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The Queen Anne-style house on a hill in Homewood is empty, overgrown and in disrepair. Once, it was the grand home of the National Negro Opera Company, the first African-American opera company in the United States, and black artists who visited in the 1940s were greeted with views of Oakland and Downtown.

"This building represents a period where Homewood was just thriving and booming," said Kilolo Luckett of North Point Breeze as she stood looking at the house on Apple Street this morning.

On Saturday, at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Homewood, there will be a panel discussion about the community's architecture, an event that Ms. Luckett said will not just celebrate historically significant buildings in Homewood, but will motivate the neighborhood as it pursues revitalization.

"People tend to know Homewood about violence, the negative things that happen," she said. "That's one of the many reasons we wanted to do this [panel discussion]. There are these hidden gems, these assets, these neighborhood assets that are very important."

The discussion is being organized by Creative Local, a collaboration between Ms. Luckett, who runs a project management business for nonprofit organizations called Designate, and Elwin Green, a former Post-Gazette reporter who manages Homewood Nation, a blog where Mr. Green chronicles the transformation of his neighborhood.

A native of Louisville, Ky., Mr. Green moved to Homewood in 1984, attracted by the prospect of cheap rent, he said. He fell in love with a Homewood native he met at his church and with Homewood itself, moving into the house on Race Street where his wife grew up.

In the past few decades, as he's explored his neighborhood, he said he's been amazed by the history he has found, a historic legacy, he said, that many residents of Homewood -- let alone people who live outside the community -- know little about.

One example, he said, is a row of houses called Meado'cots, located on the corner of Rosedale and Susquehanna streets, designed by Frederick G. Scheibler Jr., a Pittsburgh architect who became known for his work in the early 20th century.

It's a historic gem, he said, that the community should celebrate. The panel discussion is the first of several events that will do just that, Mr. Green and Ms. Luckett said.

"One of my favorite lines about Homewood, is that when Homewood learns to celebrate its legacy, the world will come to the party," Mr. Green said.

The panel discussion, titled "Hidden Gems: The Architecture of Homewood," will be held in the auditorium of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Homewood from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday. RSVP: info@creativelocal.org or 412-818-1779.

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This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To subscribe, go to https://ssl.post-gazette.com/circ/startPressPrint.asp?option=7DA Kaitlynn Riely: kriely@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1707.


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